Kristen Jeffers has always been interested in how cities work. She’s also always loved writing things. She went off to a major state university, got a communication degree and then started a more professional Blogger site. Then, in her graduate seminar on urban politics, along with browsing the urbanist blogosphere, she realized that her ideas should have a stronger, clearer voice, one that reflects her identity as a Black southern woman. And with that The Black Urbanist blog was born. Seven years, one Twitter account, one self-published book and a litany of speeches and urban planning projects later, here we are. Kristen will join us to talk about why she started the blog, why she keeps it going and how important it is to bring your personality and your identity to spaces that may or may not be built for you.
Kristen was born in Greensboro, NC to two parents who instilled in her the love of learning, the love of telling stories, the love of helping others and the love of her home state and all the elements that make up its environment. In 2010, after an early career in the nonprofit and professional services sector, she took the communication degree she’d earned from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC and combined that with the Master of Public Affairs she would earn in 2012 from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to create The Black Urbanist, an outlet for her interests in promoting urban studies and community development. Her thoughts and comments have since been featured in The Atlantic Cities (CityLab), Next City, Sustainable Cities Collective, Streetsblog Network, Yes! Weekly, Triad City Beat and the (Greensboro) News and Record and on KCUR’s Central Standard. She has spoken as a keynote, lead breakout sessions and and served on panels at the Congress for New Urbanism, CityWorksXpo, APA Virginia National Meeting, 2012 UNC Global South conference and a number of other summits, classroom lectures and professional gatherings. In 2014 she released her first book of essays, A Black Urbanist. She makes the best mixtapes, knows all the best restaurants in Greensboro and cheers loudly for her Wolfpack, especially on the basketball court. She’s lived in Greensboro, Raleigh, Durham, Kansas City, D.C. and now Baltimore.
The Emerging Planners Group of the American Planning Association Maryland Chapter is a creating a network for engaging and supporting new planning professionals.